March 11, 2018: A passage through the woods is always a fascinating spectacle. Especially so, when a young man takes cudgels against a course that torments men twice his age, to earn his stripes. Kshitij Naveed Kaul, remember the name, did just that and more playing with the beast at the DLF Golf & Country Club. The teenager, playing as an amateur, stood tall in the Hero Indian Open, signing off with a brilliant 70 in the final round.
On a day when there were just ten other men with scores under par, it was an impressive effort from the young man to produce a gem of such quality. It was an effort against the odds and won him accolades all around.
“There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life or to make a virtue of your peculiarities,” wrote Ursula K. Le Guin in The Dispossessed, a utopian science fiction novel. While the author may have been dealing with fiction, the underlying philosophy has a timeless ring of truth to it.
17-year-old Kshitij underlined his promise as a golfer, with his performances this week. Obviously, the young man is working to make a virtue of his peculiarities.
The young golfer made the most of this week – producing 70 on either side of the week, with 76 & 77 in the middle rounds. Just for context, a determined Anirban Lahiri had to be content with a 6-over total of 294, one behind the young amateur. Kshitij was locked in a tie for 32nd with Jyoti Randhawa.
Kshitij, the 2015 All India Amateur finalist, produced nine birdies during the week. Four of those came in the final round, as he bounced back from a painful 77 on Saturday. The young lad was even on Sunday between the 10th and 18th holes, a stretch that has troubled the best of men this week.
The best amateur is a good prize to win, but it has to be a harbinger of greater things. And Kshitij will be the first to know that he has miles to go and dreams to chase as he pursues his golf with energy and passion.